Flutter vs. React Native – What to сhoose in 2021?
If you want to develop cross-platform apps faster and more affordably, you’re probably wondering which framework will be the best fit. So, we’ve developed this guide to help you understand the differences between Flutter and React Native, the two leading technologies, and determine which is the best cross-platform framework for your app.
If you are looking for the right solution for iOS app development, we have also put together a Flutter/Dart and Native iOS/Swift comparison, to help you figure out which framework or language is right for your project.
What is Flutter?
Flutter was developed by Google, and it is an open-source, multi-platform mobile SDK that uses the Dart programming language. With Flutter, you can build iOS, Android, Linux, Windows, Mac, Google Fuchsia, and web apps, all from the same source code.
Flutter has 121k stars on Github, and it was chosen as one of the top three favorite frameworks, libraries, and tools in a 2020 Stackoverflow survey. Some popular Flutter apps include:
- Google Ads
- Hamilton Musical
- SpaceX Go
What are the advantages of Flutter?
Flutter offers numerous advantages, including:
- Rich widgets that provide an excellent look and feel
- An active, growing community
- Great documentation and core team support, making it easy to learn and use
- The ability to use one code base to develop apps across multiple platforms
- Rapid time-to-market
Thanks to Flutter for Web, you can develop Android, iOS, and web apps, all from the same codebase. Flutter’s web support works well for progressive web apps (PWA), single-page applications (SPA), and browser-based delivery of existing mobile applications.
What Is React Native?
React Native is also a popular framework with an active community, and it has 95.6K stars on Github. Apps developed using React Native include:
What are the advantages of React Native?
React Native offers many benefits, including:
- A massive, experienced community
- Easy-to-learn and offers many quality tutorials and libraries
- Reusable code for web and desktop app development
So, if you are looking for speed, Flutter with Dart is the clear winner.
React Native vs. Flutter: Similarities
Flutter and React Native are both free, open-source frameworks that allow for cross-platform app development. In addition, they both offer:
- Constant support - their creators, Google and Facebook, provide continuous support for both frameworks, resulting in quick bug fixes and reliability.
- Customizability - since both frameworks are open-source, they offer more customization than other solutions.
- Excellent user experiences - while Flutter uses widgets and React Native uses UI components, both frameworks provide a superior user experience.
- Hot reload - developers can see UI changes in real-time, without having to update the page.
- Rapid, cost-effective development - cross-platform app building from a single codebase allows for faster, more affordable development.
While React Native and Flutter have many similarities, there are also some key differences. One primary difference is in the way each framework handles UI building.
React Native uses the native iOS and Android UI components. This means that React Native application components look just like the corresponding platform’s native ones. If an operating system update changes the look or function of those components, then they are updated in your app, as well. While this likely means fewer necessary updates and new releases for you, it also means that OS updates may break your app.
Rather than using native UI elements, Flutter features highly customizable widgets that are rendered from scratch. With Flutter’s UI design tools, you have complete control over the appearance and design of your app. You can use a widget library, like Cupertino, to create a native-looking UI, or you can build something totally custom. You have the option to use and customize any widget in the Flutter library or develop your own widgets.
While both frameworks separate the UI from the business logic, Flutter does so using the BLoC method, while React Native uses the Flux pattern. The BLoC pattern uses asynchronous methods, structuring, and streams to avoid performance delays, so scrolls and animations still work smoothly, even while data is loading.
Community Support & Popularity
Here are the Flutter vs. React Native community stats as of May 2021.
- Github: Flutter has 121K stars, while React Native has 95.6K stars.
- Reddit: Flutter subreddit has 71.3k users, while React Native subreddit has 75.9k.
- StackOverflow: 88,563 questions about Flutter vs. 99,856 questions about React Native.
- Facebook: 137.7K Flutter developers vs. 131.4K React Native developers.
- Twitter: 143.9K Flutter followers and 110.9K React Native followers.
At first glance, the frameworks seem to have similarly sized communities. However, the Flutter community is more active and is constantly growing. Flutter’s outlook is much brighter than React Native’s future, as Flutter is expected to keep up its rapid growth.
Performance is a vital aspect when choosing the right framework and, in this area, Flutter wins again. Flutter allows for faster coding, while the C++ engine and Skia graphics library result in high-performing apps across all platforms.
Flutter and React Native are clearly the best contenders for cross-platform app development. While there are other hybrid app frameworks that serve as alternatives to React Native and Flutter, they can not compare to these top cross-platform technologies. However, Flutter is a more modern solution that offers better performance, documentation, and customization. Flutter can provide you with faster, more scalable, higher-performing apps, across multiple platforms.
If you are looking to develop your next cross-platform app using Flutter, fill out the form below, and we will be in contact with you as soon as possible to discuss how we can help.